The UK website CrimeFictionLover.com recently published my report of the five books I reviewed for them in 2022 that I liked best. The pool from which these excellent books were selected has some idiosyncracies. CFL covers new (more or less time-of-publication) crime fiction. A review of a book that’s a few months old is rarely accepted, which unfortunately is often when I get around to listening to the audio version. As a result, while I reviewed about 30 books for CFL in 2020, I read almost 80. I troll the list of award finalists for audio suggestions and find many good ones like:
Razorblade Tears: A Novel – by SA Cosby – Not only an action-packed thriller full of story and steeped in compassion, but a remarkable narration by Adam Lazarre-White. Two men come to terms with their dead sons’ gay lives and with each other across America’s racial divide (nominated for multiple awards).
The Diamond Eye: A Novel by Kate Quinn – A fascinating WWII story, inspired by true events, of an unforgettable young woman: eagle-eyed Russian sniper, emissary of the Soviet government in its quest for US military support, and friend of Eleanor Roosevelt. Lots of interesting detail about how snipers work. Nicely narrated by Saskia Maarleveld.
Deer Season by Erin Flanagan – an intellectually disabled farmhand is suspected of a gruesome crime, and the couple who employs and looks out for him faces painful dilemmas (award nominee).
Trouble Is What I Do by Walter Mosley – Need I say more? Interesting people, good plot, fantastic narration by Dion Graham.
We Are All the Same in the Dark: A Novel by Julia Heaberlin – A cold case heats up in a small Texas town when an abandoned teenager is discovered. Lots of secrets. Lots of atmosphere. Solid female characters. I always enjoy Heaberlin. Multiple narrators, all good.
Black Hills by Nora Roberts – For me, the main character’s involvement with a large animal sanctuary was irresistible. Even if the romance was predictable, the big cats rarely were.
Joe Country by Mick Herron – The Slow Horses team is back in book 6, and in my opinion, Herron hasn’t put a foot wrong yet. Narrated by Gerard Doyle, a pleasure in itself.